Nissan’s Qashqai crossover SUV is one of the biggest money spinners for the company, having sold 30,000 units in South Africa since its 2007 launch, and around 3.3 million globally. It is not difficult to see why — it’s practical (sizable boot space), with a highly-efficient engine in the 1.5 dCi. The value for money for me is the standout as the model is fairly affordable at the entry-level R309,900 — the model I drove is the highly specced Tekna derivative, which starts at R449,900.
This came with a panoramic view, which my boys loved, as well as heated front seats, electric windows, folding mirrors, surround-view cameras and an impressive Bose sound system.
It also has a slew of safety features, including blind-spot warning, intelligent emergency braking and cross-traffic alert.
The Qashqai comfortably seats four adults and a child in the middle seat at the back. There is a lot of plastic but it doesn’t necessarily cheapen the SUV, as the leather trim does well to counter that.
The interior is modern and fresh; the exterior is sporty with an updated “Vmotion grille” that syncs with the new visual language of the Nissan brand.
The cabin is comfortable, but not fivestar as the wind noise from outside can be more perceptible at higher speeds.
The one aspect that truly impressed is the fuel-efficiency of this 1.5dCi engine. I drove 600km on half a tank. I have driven some thirsty and supposedly frugal cars, but the Qashqai for now is the best. The official numbers are 4.2l/100km but to me it felt far less than that.
Motoring wizard Lerato Matebese said recently, “If South Africans were not too brand-conscious they would be saving buckets of money driving the Qashqai.” I fully agree. Nissan has a winner here.